Is Joe Bonnamassa autistic

Does joe bonamassa have Autism or Aspergers?

Joe Bonnamassa is a blues guitarist who started his career opening for blues legend B.B. King in 1989, when he was only 12 years-old.  He is considered one of the greatest guitar players of his generation.  He has released 15 solo albums in the last 13 years, all on his own label, J&R Adventures. He is also a philanthropist who founded the non-profit organization Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation to fund music scholarships and support school music programs.  In spite of his early success, there is no evidence that Joe Bannamassa is autistic.

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  1. Let me preface this by saying I in no way have any expertise is this area, this is just an observation which is based on knowing people with aspergers syndrome. I feel in love with Joe’s music just within the past year and started devouring all his YouTube videos. Occasionally I would notice in the comments people saying things like, “He’s good but really full of himself”, or “He seems obnoxious”…etc. I never got that. I wondered right away if he has a touch or autism or aspergers because of he mannerisms and sometime awkward, or seemingly misplaced movements on stage. The best example I can think of is during the Royal Albert Hall concert of 2009 while doing the Sloe Gin song he throws his arms up at a point where the lyric says, “No matter if I live or if I die.” Now that I read that I suppose it might not make that much sense unless you follow Joe and watch a lot of videos. All that said, I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for the man and I suspect his social awkwardness (if that is even the right thing to call it) is what enabled him to become phenomenal musician.

    1. I totally agree with you. My 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with High Functioning Aspergers (years ago). She does the same finger tapping, body jerking, and other things Joe Cocker does. I also agree that is what attributed to his singing and performing to be so phenomenal, as people with such a diagnosis are extremely talented and are able to view and put things together on a whole different perpective, which made everything they did reach us on a completely higher level.

    2. Hello. I found your comment when looking up if Joe might have Irlen Syndrome, which I suspected from his blue tinted glasses that he wears. Irlen Syndrome is dyslexia and from what I’ve seen or heard about it, suggests that people with dyslexia are often really creative. Also, what you mentioned about Joe throwing his arms up at that moment in Sloe Gin as being an awkward or misplaced movement.. I think it is perfect. It shows his feeling and conviction of those words with full and pure emotion. That is one of mine and my husbands’ favourite moments on that album. We both believe Joe is one of, if not the most incredibly talented and best guitarist on the planet right now. To be honest, perhaps he missed out on some of the social experiences that others had growing up because he spent so much time from such a young age alone with his guitar. And what others might see as arrogance or being “full of himself” is I believe NOT that at all and simply an incredible man with an phenomenal talent that he himself developed through a lifetime of dedication and hard work. He deserves to be proud of himself and of what he has achieved. I think he is pure inspiration of what can be achieved when you have a dream and are willing to put in the ridiculous amount of hard work it must take to make that dream a reality. Thank you Joe Bonamassa. And thank you too for the comment that prompted me to write all this. All the best, Karen.

      1. Hello again. Sorry, Irlen Syndrome and Dyslexia are not the same. They can co-exist, although they are separate conditions. It is the Irlen Syndrome that is treated with tinted lenses to help alleviate perceptual distortions on the printed page and in the surrounding environment. It can also help some people with autism by helping to ease the environmental overload they experience. This can only help some with autism and is to be regarded as just one of the pieces in the puzzle and not to be thought of as a cure. I hope this helps as well. Thanks, Karen :~)

    3. What do you mean by “autism OR Asperger’s? Asperger Syndrome is just an outdated inappropriate term for autism without intellectual impairment, or what was until recently called “high functioning autism”, and not everyone who is gifted or extremely able in certain areas is autistic. This assumption that all gifted artists must be autistic is extremely annoying and also fairly offensive, as it leads to the ableist generalisation of autistic people as being valuable only for their obsessions and even then, only if they in some way contribute (financially) to society. I have actually been asked why I didn’t do something “more useful” (with my “autistic gifts”), as if somehow a career supporting homeless ex offenders back into the community isn’t as valuable or “useful” as knitting three pairs of socks per year with wool I spun myself or taking photos of my own cats and tomato plants. Autistic people have normal lives just like non autistic people. Stop answering are all antisocial former child prodigies and also please stop assuming non autistic people are the only socially functional members of society!

  2. How strange… or maybe not; that others believe they’ve observed spectrum disorder behaviour in Joe. I jut spotted it today during his interview on French TV after playing Oh Beautiful.

    I think it’s possible that only those with direct and daily experience of living with others who have the condition, and of course those who make a study of AS, would be able to spot the micro gestures and behaviour patterns that expose it.

    It’s neither good not bad… it just is. He’s a brilliant, talented and creative, with a mask of confidence that appears to border on arrogance, he’s probably created to help mask his unease at being in the spotlight. It’s an amazing demonstration of perseverance and willpower that he’s managed to handle the pressure so far.

    If he has a degree of AS or he doesn’t, it’s irrelevant, until it becomes relevant and only he knows when or even if that will be.

    You appear to be a good man under pressure Joe. If you read this, try making sure you find a safe way to release it every now and again. Try golf… no don’t try golf… it’s worse than live TV for pressure, try making clay pots… very chillin’ activity!



  3. He clearly has Aspergers. As a teacher with countless aspergers students he stood out immediately. He is extremely gifted but also socially awkward. Love him regardless!

    1. I live among AS family and teach Aspies as well. He actually has pretty strong as and I saw it during his first interview. It isn’t as evident to me on stage. I love Aspies and him and his music as well.

  4. The way he plays guitar is to learn the parts, and there is little or no spontenaity about it. It never varies. He writes the music and has to play it in a particular way – even the above mentioned throwing up his hands in Sloe Gin is learned. The part he plays in interviews is also a persona he puts on – and the aloofness that some detect is his mechanism of being able to play this role.
    Seeing him talk of his adoration of other guitarists, far less talented than himself, is another sign that he is ASD. He copes on stage by playing a role that actually is removed from who he is offstage. His eyes too if you ever see them, and why he wears the shades – he clearly has Irlen Disorder.
    I spotted he was ASD immediately, and the way he immerses himself into his work whilst being socially awkward is totally remarkable.
    I love his music, but the fact that he makes such wonderful music whilst being ASD just makes me love him even more.
    A wonderful and kind man, and so humble. I just adore him. Both him and his music.

    1. Monty, wonderfully written and observations I have to think about, wasn’t aware of. I totally agree. I am attracted to Aspies. An ex spouse, child and friends and I teach the population. I adore him and his music and people need to understand Aspies to love them and not be offended by them. I thought the sunglasses were because of his sensitivity to light because of AS. I need to Google the condition you and one other mentioned.

  5. Who cares what he has, the guys a genius. Period. One of Gods gifts to us all…Love Joe Saw him when he was nobody with BBking and Kenny wayne…he blew the doors off that show ! Killer!

    1. I don’t think anyone means anything derogatory towards Joe. Just a conversation among people who obviously care about him and love his music and are familiar with Aspergers and brilliance.

  6. For some reason, people have a need to pathologize behavior that doesn’t fit their ‘norm’. It is perfectly fine to be a little different and that does not mean someone has an undiagnosed condition. I work with disabled students everyday and no one can diagnose based on an interview, etc. I love Joe and been to many concerts, watched his interviews and the documentary. Seems like a perfectly normal ‘star’ to me.

  7. Very interesting reading all the comments. Saw Joe tonight live and was amazed. I felt bad as the crowd on a Wednesday night wasn’t so engaged, however I could feel his displeasure and could see it build to a point where he finally told everyone to get up and stand! I have a son with AS and so many things Joe did on stage lead me to this site to ask the question. It’s not a good or bad thing, like someone said….it just is, if indeed he has AS. I read a comment he said in an interview about not having or wanting to have children. It was the same reason my son said he will never have kids….I found that very interesting. This was before I saw him tonight. Anyway, I think it would be amazing for others with AS to have more people be open about it. My son struggled when he was younger, but there is so much more awareness now. I also believe Donald Trump has AS but we don’t hear much about that. Anyway, Joe you amazed me tonight and I felt your pain with the quiet crowd in shreveport Louisiana. I flew here from Charlotte NC to see you for the first time….this will not be my last. Simply amazing!

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